Here I am again, with another little souvenir from my various trips...
This time I am going to show you something that it's not strictly related with what we are used to talk about, but it's just too beautiful to be left out.
During my first moths in Ireland, going around town and looking at the shops, I discovered myself being so interested and fascinated by the charity and vintage shops that are all around the city centre.
Must say that these kind of shops are not usual in Italy, where vintage means incredibly expensive and charity is done by selling cakes instead of clothes...
(Temple Bar's vintage, Dublin 2011)
That's why, exploring the various shops in Dublin, I was simply amazed in front of cool dresses for euro 2 or great shoes for euro 5, so amazed that at the beginning I really thought there was something wrong going on... but no!
It was absolutely true, and that's why I fell in love with these kind of shops..
But going back home for Christmas and getting used to the marvellous roads that around Venice and Milan, I realised how much I missed that concept of fashion: that way to conceive it depending not on the price but on the quality and the beauty first of all.
(Carla Sozzani's concept store, Corso Como 10, Milan)
Different shops, different clothes, VERY different prices, not only for the famous griffes that everybody knows, but also in all the small shops, very Italian, that are still faithful to the Made in Italy instead of various China, India or Bangladesh, and where you'll find actual master pieces, amazing shapes and soft materials, but that makes your wallet cry a lot.
This is the main difference I've noticed between Italian shops and shops all around the world (maybe with the only exception of France...), especially United Kingdom.
But there is a category of shops that stands out of this home-made classification of mine.
There is a type of shop that is simply incomparable with anything else, and that because of the way it is, requests real skills to be build and kept, and becomes itself a very precious piece of luxurious art.
You would be able to find this kind of place only in Italy, and sometimes you probably won't notice it, if you don't pay attention.
It's not the kind of shop which wants to be seen, it doesn't have a huge writing or neon lights as the worldly known chains used to do...
This shop is small and often set in an historical building, with frescoes, maybe, or where the old style architecture contributes to make everything look even more precious and sophisticated.
As I said, it's not easy to notice, but for an expert eye, it's impossible to step in front of its window without stopping with surprise.
Chanel vintage dresses, old issues of Vogue, French perfumes and diamond jewels, Alexander McQueen's furs, Renee Caovilla's crazy shoes, all disposed together as in a beautiful painting, but it's not an illusory representation of reality.
It's all true, and if you want you can go inside and try that Chanel on you, smell the perfumes, put on some delicious creams and look at the sparkling o these diamonds from a closer distance.
Entering in this kind of shop it's a pleasure to grant to yourself: the owner is often alone in there, maybe helped by an elegant and posed student of fashion, taking care of everything. Her place is her proud, everything inside of it is decided by her, every piece she has found somewhere special and she would be able to tell you its story in detail.
That's what happened to me this December, when I was making a walk with a good friend in the lovely city of Vicenza, and i suddenly bumped into a place like this.
Passing the door I felt like I was going into another place, into another time, where nothing was important anymore but just the beauty of everything around me.
And I wanted it to be all mine...
So if you are planning a trip to Italy and you've in your mind some crazy shopping, or just a day where to loose yourself looking at the shops and what the amazing country of fashion can offer you, don't limit yourself and go only for griffes and chains.
Take a look around you, maybe at that little window at the corner, or in that building which seems to be closed, or inside of that court which seems to host nothing but a lovely garden...
You may find something very, very special...